France's Royal sues magazine over boyfriend snaps

Mon Mar 2, 2009 4:30pm EST
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PARIS (Reuters) - Former French presidential candidate Segolene Royal is suing the celebrity magazine Paris Match for publishing photos of her and a man described as her boyfriend, saying it has violated her privacy.

The Socialist politician is claiming damages estimated at 50,000 euros ($63,000), Paris Match said on its website on Monday, in the latest tussle between the photogenic Royal and the glossy weekly.

Paris Match splashed the headline "Segolene Royal, a free woman" and photos of her holding hands with a man named as Andre Hadjez on its cover and inside pages last month.

The photos, taken in the Spanish resort of Marbella, were accompanied by pictures of Royal visiting the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and talking to workers during a month-long strike over wages and rising food prices.

At the time, a furious Royal described the snapshots of her and the man as "stolen images" and accused paparazzi of pursuing and harassing her.

Paris Match said on its website the pictures and text had emphasized her political visit to Guadeloupe. The magazine argued this had helped attract public attention to her mission.

Last year, Royal spoke of being "hounded" by photographers after Paris Match ran photos of her praying in a church in Italy -- breaking a taboo in secularist France, where politicians traditionally keep their religious beliefs private.

(Reporting by Sophie Hardach; editing by Andrew Roche)

<p>France's Socialist party member Segolene Royal speaks to the media during a news conference in Paris February 26, 2009. REUTERS/Charles Platiau</p>